13 Dec UW-Madison Chancellor Expects COVID-19 Restrictions To Remain For Spring Semester
Chancellor Rebecca Blank Doesn’t Expect Campus Community To Have Access To Vaccines Until Late Spring Or Summer
University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says students enrolling for the spring semester should expect continued restrictions on social gatherings and a mix of in-person and online classes due to COVID-19.
During an appearance on WPR’s “The Morning Show,” Blank discussed UW-Madison’s COVID-19 response during the fall semester. She said in hindsight, administration could have done a better job laying out safety protocols and student expectations before the beginning of the semester and before students began arriving on campus in late August.
“And it turns out that, particularly among our students who were off-campus, many of them were back well before that,” said Blank. “And we weren’t doing as much messaging earlier about the health protocols and the importance of not bar hopping and gathering in large groups. And we should have started that sooner.”
One week after UW-Madison started classes in September, Blank announced most classes were moving online for two weeks to slow an initial surge of students testing positive for COVID-19. Two of the campus’ dormitories were quarantined with residents only getting two hours notice.
Despite news about coronavirus vaccines, Blank said she doesn’t think restrictions on social gatherings, a mix of online and in-person classes, and facemask requirements will go away at UW-Madison anytime soon.
“We’re not going to have large-scale vaccination in place until, at best, the end of the spring, the summer,” Blank said. “So, we are planning for a spring semester that in many ways looks a lot like the fall.”